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Purchasing Supplies, advice requested


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#1 Juthro

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 02:00 PM

All right it’s time to bite the bullet and ante up for some brewing supplies. I’ve been reluctant to purchase the equipment on line due to the outrageous shipping charges to get them delivered to Alaska.
Anchorage has some decent supply stores but is about 6 to 8 hours round trip drive time if the weather cooperates when going over the pass. I generally only go once a year if at all. So enough of my crying as to why I haven’t got supplies.

Here next month we are going to get a house guest that is flying into Anchorage where we need to pick her up. So we are trying to get our ducks in a row as to where we need to go and what we need to get while we are there. I am going to try and get all of the supplies I need to start brewing my own beer.

Arctic Brewing Supply seems to be the place to go while in Anchorage, and they sell several starter kits that I am looking at.
http://arcticbrewing...beer-making-kit
This is a link to their premium kit, and it’s the one that I’m leaning towards. If some of the more experienced brewing members here wouldn’t mind looking at what it includes and possibly suggesting any other equipment I might need while I’m at the store I would be very thankful.
Some things I saw that I think I need were a bottle drying tree and a carboy dryer, as well as some PBW.
All advice is welcome.

#2 Tripp

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 05:39 PM

That should do ya!

Are you making beer from tinned kits? If so, consider stepping up to malt extract recipes using real hops etc. It's in between kits and all grain brewing and can make some excellent beer! Sorry if I'm preaching to the choir :)


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#3 Juthro

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 07:28 PM

That should do ya!
Are you making beer from tinned kits? If so, consider stepping up to malt extract recipes using real hops etc. It's in between kits and all grain brewing and can make some excellent beer! Sorry if I'm preaching to the choir :)


Thanks for the reply Tripp. No preaching to the choir here, all input is welcome and appreciated.

My plan is to do a non-hopped malt extract (with real hops) with the addition of steeping some specialty grains for my first run. Nothing too fancy or complex, I'm thinking maybe an American Pale Ale or an IPA. Though I am admittedly a big fan of darker and more complex porter's and stouts. I am eye balling a recipe's for a smoked porter that looks awful good too, but then again I am very fond of Irish Red, lol.

So many beers, so little funding, lol.

One of the things I'm on the fence about is my brew pot. I was planning on getting a 20qt stainless with a clad bottom. I am second guessing myself trying to decide if that is to small for my future brewing needs, and if I should pony up the extra coin now for a 40qt and grow into it?

Any suggestions, or do you see any major flaws in my plan that I may be missing?

Edited by Juthro, 14 October 2014 - 07:52 PM.


#4 papa_legba

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 09:25 PM

Damn friend hows the living up north? Are you orginally from there? Sorry for the off topic. I myself have been pondering Mead lately. Nice book I just recently aquired

 

http://www.amazon.co...g/dp/0937381802


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#5 Juthro

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 10:23 PM

There is very little that could be off topic in my rambling threads brother, lol. No worries.

No, I am not originally from here, I was born and raised in the PNW, but I make my living commercial fishing here in the land of the midnight sun. My wife and I decided to pull up roots and move here full time, haven't regretted it for even a moment. Its a slower lifestyle but it fits us well. Like the bumper stickers up here say, "Relax, Your Not In The Lower 48".

If Spooner is around here somewhere, he would be one to ask about mead. I have thought about it, as we are well known for our fireweed honey here, but like a lot of things up here, it will cost ya.

Edited by Juthro, 14 October 2014 - 10:24 PM.

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#6 papa_legba

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 11:15 PM

I know forsure one day Ill make it up there just for vacation as it is one of the many beautiful places of the world.


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#7 Juthro

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 11:24 PM

I know forsure one day Ill make it up there just for vacation as it is one of the many beautiful places of the world.


It is one of the most beautiful places on earth IMHO.

Don't take my word for it, come on up and see for your self. If you can swing it, the inland passage is an amazing trip that I cant compare to anything else I know.

Here are some pics I've taken from around the state that you might enjoy.

https://mycotopia.ne...-and-lake-pics/
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#8 Tripp

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 08:08 AM

Sounds great, Juthro, and just what I was trying to explain :) You'll have so much fun creating recipes with the extract and hops, grains and yeast. Lots of good recipes about for lovely porters and stouts to, so never fear! I've been drinking Yakima Red by Meantime brewery recently, lovely pint. A recipe for that would be good!

 

If you're going to be breweing for years to come, why not buy the biggest you can afford, and grow into it as you said. However, if you're looking to step up to all grain eventually, maybe just get the smaller one (I'm not sure on quarts - I work in pints or litres!). I still brew extract sometimes as it's so much quicker, and use a 12 litre pot, which is fine. However, I don't make the wole brew length at once with that method - maths and stuff get involved so I can brew say, 8 litres of very hoppy, very malty beer, then water it down when putting it into the fermenter. Works like a charm! If you get a decent large pot though, chances are you can convert it into a boiler or tun for all grain brewing at some point.

 

Looks like such a wonderful place you live, too!


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#9 Juthro

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 11:59 AM

I appreciate your input Tripp. I think I going to go with the smaller pot, 20qt (19 liter), I think it should carry me through for quite a while in my new hobby. I can also get a steamer basket, and use it to steam clams (yum!). I may well want to move into all grain at some point, or BIAB seems interesting as well, but I will cross those bridges when I come to them.

My big trip to Anchorage is in about a month, so I still have time to work out any details, so if you happen to think of anything else that would make my brewing experience better I would be happy to listen.

Thank you for your response brother, I had all but given up that any one was still reading this part of the forum.

Peace and friendship,
Juth

#10 SilvrHairDevil

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 12:12 PM

Here's a tip: Pick up some crystal malt grain. If you put it in a coffee filter and pour boiling water through, you can add the resultant broth to your beer kit for a nice grainy taste.



#11 Juthro

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 01:11 PM

Here's a tip: Pick up some crystal malt grain. If you put it in a coffee filter and pour boiling water through, you can add the resultant broth to your beer kit for a nice grainy taste.


I'm new to brewing so if my question is a little ignorant please forgive me, but wont that achieve the same results as steeping your specialty grains (crystal, black patent, chocolate malt, ect..)in a mesh bag before making the rest of your wort?

I kind of envision it as a grain tea of sorts, mostly for flavor. My understanding is your getting the bulk of your fermentable from your malt extract.

#12 Tripp

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 04:13 PM

More than happy to help, Juthro :)

It's a confusing game to begin with! That's a good choice I think, and yes you can even do BIAB with that! You'd just need the bag and you'd be brewing with grain. Fitting a tap to a pot that size might be helpful when transfering boiling wort! Will you be bottling or kegging your beer? I've found that Starsan no rinse steriliser greatly reduces time, effort and water usage on a brew day, not sure if you guys get it over there. Look it up! It's worth it. Make sure to make the solution up with distilled water though.

 

Haha well good timing! I came back here the other day, it's been a long time! Good to be back, although I'm still pretty busy. I'll try and drop by more often.

 

I think you're right with SilverHairDevil's suggestion. That would work very well for a hopped kit brew, but going the extract route with added grains gives you that added control over flavour and ingredients.

 

Are you using temperature control for fermentation, by the way? And are you using brewing software?


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#13 Juthro

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 05:39 PM

I believe there is a 16oz bottle of Star san in the kit that I am purchasing. If not, I will definitely get a bottle. I know that the starter kit does not include any PBW, but I am purchasing that in addition to the kit. Thanks for advice about using distilled water with the Star san.

I am on a well here and do have some dissolved minerals in my water but it is not excessively hard (as in it doesn't iron stain my cloths), and it does not run through a salt based water softener (I read somewhere that they could cause issues with brewing). All in all I have good quality drinkable water here.

I am going to start with bottling my beer. But if I decide that this is a hobby that I wish to continue with I may well move into kegging. It sounds like a nice way to go, but so many toys to buy, and so little discretionary funding.

I have a small upstairs office that I will be doing my fermenting in, but I no automated direct control over fermenting temps.

And lastly, I am not familiar with brewing software. Please, do tell.

I am excited, I cant wait until next month when I drive to Anchorage to pick up my new toys!

Edit: I went back and looked at the kit again, and it comes with a pound of one step, also a no rinse cleaner. But I think I will pick up a bottle of Star San anyway while I'm there. I can order from the supply house though the mail but have to pay shipping, and I don't see me driving back to Anchorage again for at least a year.

Edited by Juthro, 15 October 2014 - 07:10 PM.


#14 PsyBearknot

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 08:15 PM

A bottleing wand if it has not been suggested. You place the wand in the bottle and press down. When the beer gets to the top and you remove the wand it leaves the perfect air space and automatically stops the flow of the beer

I don't like the pre hopped kits. They just don't seem too good.

Get the big pot as soon enough you wi go all grain and want the pot

We have one glass carboy for primary and 2 plastic for secondary. So much lighter. And we can brew one, ferment, move to secondary and start over

A carboy sling/carrier or a milk crate to set the carboy in makes moving it sooooo much better

Stock up on the PBW. It's your friend.

If you bloom your yeast smack lac 24 hours ahead the. Get your self a blow off tube. Those air locks will spray out and make a mess

Blow off tube is a hose that fits in the neck of the carboy and the. Goes down Into a pitcher of of water for air release.

We will run our bottles through the dish washer and then place the bottling bucket on the counter above and take the bottle, fill it, cap it and any liquid drips into the dish washer.
The joy of home brew book is good. So is john palmers book online for free. Both give a little different perspectives.
Slanted Annie's chocolate porter is a winner in the joy brew book.
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#15 Juthro

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 09:18 PM

Thank you brother Bear, I was hoping you would chime in here. Reading about your brewing adventures has been a large part of my inspiration to move forward.

The starter kit I'm buying does have a bottle wand. And also comes with a 6.5 and a 5 gal glass carboy as well as a 6.5 gallon bottling pail with lid.

What size brew kettle would you suggest?

I have many more questions I would like to ask, but I have to take care of some business this evening :( So I will check in later.

Thanks again to everyone for their advice and opinions. I truly value them all.
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#16 PsyBearknot

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 10:02 PM

Some great advice in this thread!

Most of the non pre hopped kits will fit in a 5 gallon kettle and will do you fine.

If your stove can handle it go for a 7 gallon pot that way you can eventually do all grain brew in bag type recipes. They require 6.5 gallons of liquid to extract the flavors and sugars from your malts and grains properly.
Knowing how most of us dive head first Into these hobbies and rapidly progress it will just save a step up.

We have to use 2 - 5 gallon pots and be verry precise in dividing our ingredients between the 2 pots due to a hood over our stove that does not acomidate for the height of the larger kettle.

I'd love to be able to use a propane tank / turkey fryer stand outside. We just are now allowed an open flame on the deck
The amount of time it would cut down to an afternoon of brewing vers a day of brewing. But it's my bonding time with other bear and we have great conversation over the brew kettle.
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#17 PsyBearknot

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 10:11 PM

i think the great thing about a good non hopped or all grain home brew is the way it's complexities change like wine does when you eat food. Taco night is paired with a saison that has coriander and Orange peal that just POPS with the flavor of the salsa and taco meat. A rye IPA that goes from slightly bitter to pucker with the different sweetness of foods. The chocolate porter paired with a cheese cake becomes robust in flavor on the porter side.

The other thing I have noticed is the beer buzz is way more relaxing and sedative then commercial beers. We call the saison oot destination brew cause it's higher in alcohol content and after 3 I'm nodding off. Best to be in the location I am going to be staying after a couple of those.
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#18 Juthro

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 11:19 AM

After some more looking and talking it over with my better half, I think I'm going to go with the 5 gal. kettle. Even if (more likely "when") I decide to later upgrade to a larger one, we don't have a pot that size (5 gal),and there are several other useful things it could do for us. It's a nice size for boiling crabs, or steaming clams, or making chicken or turkey broth.

Damn, now I'm hungry, lol.
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#19 Tripp

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 06:55 AM

I believe there is a 16oz bottle of Star san in the kit that I am purchasing. If not, I will definitely get a bottle. I know that the starter kit does not include any PBW, but I am purchasing that in addition to the kit. Thanks for advice about using distilled water with the Star san.

I am on a well here and do have some dissolved minerals in my water but it is not excessively hard (as in it doesn't iron stain my cloths), and it does not run through a salt based water softener (I read somewhere that they could cause issues with brewing). All in all I have good quality drinkable water here.

I am going to start with bottling my beer. But if I decide that this is a hobby that I wish to continue with I may well move into kegging. It sounds like a nice way to go, but so many toys to buy, and so little discretionary funding.

I have a small upstairs office that I will be doing my fermenting in, but I no automated direct control over fermenting temps.

And lastly, I am not familiar with brewing software. Please, do tell.

I am excited, I cant wait until next month when I drive to Anchorage to pick up my new toys!

Edit: I went back and looked at the kit again, and it comes with a pound of one step, also a no rinse cleaner. But I think I will pick up a bottle of Star San anyway while I'm there. I can order from the supply house though the mail but have to pay shipping, and I don't see me driving back to Anchorage again for at least a year.

 

 

Excellent! The only reason I said distilled water for Starsan is that if you use regular water it deactivates it! Sounds like you have amazing water from actually brewing with, good job :) Should make for some lovely beers! Cornish beers usually have very soft water, and they are some of my favourites at the moment and have been for some time!

 

Bottling is a good way to go - They keep for longer too! It's great to see how the conditioning process changes the flavours, really eye opening, and that's easy to do with bottles (easy apart from resisting temptation to have a sneaky taste!).

 

One of the biggest improvements in my brewing was temperature control - it really is so important in getting regular and consistent flavours off the yeast - I've been fermenting Danstar Nottingham at 16C for a long time now and it always give a great profile! Again, sorry if you're more than aware of all this, but here's what I use just in case:

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item231cb69951

 

I use one of those thermostats wired up to a fridge and a tube heater. Set the temp to 16C, and attach the probe half way up the fermenter, covered in bubble wrap. If it gets too hot, the fridge kicks in and if it gets too cold the heater starts up! It never gets more that 0.5C above or below 16C. Perfect for the beers I'm making at the moment! Takes a lot of worry (maybe I used to worry too much!) out of the fermentation process, as you know you're getting a consistent temp.

 

Brewing software is very handy if you're making your own recipes... It takes most of the guess work out of the equation for you! I use 'Beer Engine', it's free to download. You put in stats of how you want your beer to turn out, enter ingredients, ABV, EBC, IBU etc. and calculate the amounts/times needed for your recipe! Very very handy, and works with malt extract too. I'd strongly advice you download it and get your head around it, so you can play to your heart's content designing and making the beers of your dreams! It is pretty confusing at the start, so if you get stuck, just let me know :)


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#20 PsyBearknot

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 07:06 AM

I believe there is a 16oz bottle of Star san in the kit that I am purchasing. If not, I will definitely get a bottle. I know that the starter kit does not include any PBW, but I am purchasing that in addition to the kit. Thanks for advice about using distilled water with the Star san.
I am on a well here and do have some dissolved minerals in my water but it is not excessively hard (as in it doesn't iron stain my cloths), and it does not run through a salt based water softener (I read somewhere that they could cause issues with brewing). All in all I have good quality drinkable water here.
I am going to start with bottling my beer. But if I decide that this is a hobby that I wish to continue with I may well move into kegging. It sounds like a nice way to go, but so many toys to buy, and so little discretionary funding.
I have a small upstairs office that I will be doing my fermenting in, but I no automated direct control over fermenting temps.
And lastly, I am not familiar with brewing software. Please, do tell.
I am excited, I cant wait until next month when I drive to Anchorage to pick up my new toys!
Edit: I went back and looked at the kit again, and it comes with a pound of one step, also a no rinse cleaner. But I think I will pick up a bottle of Star San anyway while I'm there. I can order from the supply house though the mail but have to pay shipping, and I don't see me driving back to Anchorage again for at least a year.

 
 
Excellent! The only reason I said distilled water for Starsan is that if you use regular water it deactivates it! Sounds like you have amazing water from actually brewing with, good job :) Should make for some lovely beers! Cornish beers usually have very soft water, and they are some of my favourites at the moment and have been for some time!
 
Bottling is a good way to go - They keep for longer too! It's great to see how the conditioning process changes the flavours, really eye opening, and that's easy to do with bottles (easy apart from resisting temptation to have a sneaky taste!).
 
One of the biggest improvements in my brewing was temperature control - it really is so important in getting regular and consistent flavours off the yeast - I've been fermenting Danstar Nottingham at 16C for a long time now and it always give a great profile! Again, sorry if you're more than aware of all this, but here's what I use just in case:
 
http://www.ebay.com/...=item231cb69951
 
I use one of those thermostats wired up to a fridge and a tube heater. Set the temp to 16C, and attach the probe half way up the fermenter, covered in bubble wrap. If it gets too hot, the fridge kicks in and if it gets too cold the heater starts up! It never gets more that 0.5C above or below 16C. Perfect for the beers I'm making at the moment! Takes a lot of worry (maybe I used to worry too much!) out of the fermentation process, as you know you're getting a consistent temp.
 
Brewing software is very handy if you're making your own recipes... It takes most of the guess work out of the equation for you! I use 'Beer Engine', it's free to download. You put in stats of how you want your beer to turn out, enter ingredients, ABV, EBC, IBU etc. and calculate the amounts/times needed for your recipe! Very very handy, and works with malt extract too. I'd strongly advice you download it and get your head around it, so you can play to your heart's content designing and making the beers of your dreams! It is pretty confusing at the start, so if you get stuck, just let me know :)

I agree 100% on the temp control. Great point Tripp as well as bottleing. I like to sample the pre bottle after the final gravity and then a 2-3 week bottle. We will normally wait for 4 or longer but it is cool how it changes.
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